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The Buddha at Work – “Generosity: What’s In It For Me?”

by Jon Rubinstein

Ready for some musical inspiration?

How’s that for a kick in the ass?

I’ve never really noticed that before, how this song is all about the virtue of generosity. Way to be mindful, Jon! As Thich Nhat Hanh has said, “We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” A profound teaching from the Red Hot Chili Peppers! Who’d-a thunk it?

The lyrics are super clear–give it away, give it away, give it away, now!

So the question is, what does that get me, and how does it apply to business?

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posted October 29, 2009 at 1:34 pm

YES!!!! I’m so glad you noticed.
I remember when this first came out back in early 90’s. Its my favorite RHCP song.
I think it’s useful to remember that it is uncomfortable when you are practicing generosity towards someone you don’t necessarily like or in a difficult situation. ‘m starting to wonder if that’s part of the Bodhi package. The deeper you go the less important you become and that can be painful.

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posted October 29, 2009 at 11:00 pm

i don’t know what to say about generosity. i got out of the hospital a month ago. i just wanted to say i love rhcp. anthony, flea, john and chad, hi!

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Edoardo Ballerini

posted October 30, 2009 at 1:13 pm

I was feeling down about having given a lot away recently. My apartment felt empty as a result of having given a lot away during a recent move. To change my mood, I cranked up the iTunes and hit shuffle. “Give it Away” came right up. And I listened, and listened. When the song was over, I went to my closet and pulled out all the clothes I don’t reasonably use or need, and I gave them away. And by giving even more away I went from feeling lack to feeling abundance in a matter of minutes.

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Your Name

posted November 2, 2009 at 4:37 am

I like the Chili Peppers, but I’d be a little careful about holding up rockers as a model for spirituality. Sure, there are some who are very spiritual people. But, you know, a quick inside look at their life illustrates some pretty extreme behavior…serious drug use is more the norm than not, hookers, physical fights, extreme vanity, and on and on and on. My ex-girlfriend’s brother was a major rocker…and the stories I heard…well…many of those folks are very very very extreme.
As far as giving goes…sure, I think that is a major tenet of the path.
I think everyone involved in the spiritual search should be consciously looking for ways to give back. Ultimately, I think all spiritual actions should come from within, from real spiritual motivations. But sometimes we can’t wait for the call of compassion to arise from within, we must perform some outer tasks of caring, even if we don’t feel it inside, do it like a duty, until the feelings show. And then, of course, those feelings can then guide us directly as to what course of action we should choose.

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Jon Rubinstein

posted November 3, 2009 at 10:38 am

Hi, regarding that last comment – I hope I was clear, I’m not holding up any rocker as a paragon. I just found a lesson in the song. It appears to have been intended that way, and I’m grateful for that.

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